I did not make this headline up
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|1 day 23 hours ago||Concepts||
Roughly put, everyone knows what a forest is, but Harbaugh's good at seeing the forest from the trees. These aren't a bunch of plays thrown into a pile; they work together to stress the defense. Opportunities are created by forcing the defense to account for something you're NOT doing in any given play. A QB spy is one less guy to play a gap. Bringing up with a safety leaves one less guy in coverage. Etc., etc. If defenses know what you're going to do, they have the advantage. If they don't, you have it.
In this case:
If I'm reading this right, the WR on the top of the screen is playing off the LoS so the guy just below him is the TE. Because he's a lineman the front 7 have to account for the gap between the RT and TE, but if the guy fakes the block and curls out into the flat on play action he's in acres of space. The defense HAS to account for the space. AND the gap! If the field safety covers then the WR is one-on-one with the CB. If it's a run and the SLB hesitates there's a lane. This isn't to say this can't be defended (there's an answer for everything), but making the defense think "what if" really puts stress on their assignments. There's like ten yards between the WR and TE and the D has to account for every inch of it.
This is, of course, Offense 101. Every OC wants a balanced offense that keeps defenses guessing. Here's where the ol' "execution" word makes its infamous apperance. I'd like to tweak that, not just to mess with jargon but to also address its limitation. Fairly or not, "execution" implies a play can succeed if you run it perfectly. That's not the case if the defense sees it coming, and MGoBlog goes 'round and 'round on this, in part because I think people talk past each other. So, the word I'd use is implementation. Execution is part of implementation. The play needs to make sense in context (scheme/playcalling), it needs to stress the defense (Xs and Os), it needs to be something the players can do (jimmies & joes), AND they need to do it (execution). You can draw up a play that's supposed to stress the defense, but if for some reason the defense can stop it out of their base (easy read, bad execution, etc.), it's not really a constraint.
|1 day 23 hours ago||Recipes vs. ingredients||
I don't think it'd change much. If the scheme is a meal, the plays are recipes and the players are ingredients. The core concepts will be the same regardless of who's QB.
But if you're preparing a meal and one of your recipes calls for an ingredient you just don't have; it doesn't necessarily work if you go to "the next best thing". A great chef takes what's in the kitchen and doesn't mindlessly substitute but changes the recipes as needed. But the result still has to go together with everything else.
As for playcalls, that depends on what's working, not the plays per se. The limitations of a player shouldn't reflect on the playcalls but the expectations of the play. For example, you can probably get away with a play that assumes a DE can't beat Denard to the edge. The same play with Navarre is asking for trouble no matter how flat-footed the defense is. You can still run a bootleg but the countermeasure for a DE in pursuit can't just be, "run for it". The threat has to come from somewhere, such as a TE in the flat or a RB maintaining pitch distance. But if that's there and the opponent isn't defending it, run it with Navarre thirty effin' times if it keeps moving the chains.
TL;DR: Whoever winds up at QB, the QB runs will be there and Harbaugh will call them whenever they make sense. If there's any variation, I think it'll be not in the playcalls but the plays -- the expectations of the players depending on what they can and can't do.
|2 days 12 min ago||Borges||
The indictment of Borges is that he'd call plays that were difficult for the offense and easy for the defense. For example, only bringing in Norfleet for a sweep, or tackle over. The O has to rep the play, it works for a while, but once it's on tape the D just sees the personnel or formation and is all over it.
In his defense, he also racked up some 40-point games with raw-as-a-slaughterhouse O-line; we often forget that. He'd just run out of tricks at the worst times and that got him fired. Nuss was consistently bad but that's because he was trying to rebuild the offense; I wouldn't trade Harbaugh for any other coach but I do wish in an alternate universe we could see what Nuss was going to make in 2-3 years.
Harbaugh's offenses, as I understand them, are difficult to learn but conceptually easy. The O-line will shift like crazy before the snap but that's to make the defense's job hard. Once the ball's snapped everyone should have simplified reads.
I'm OK with simple or sophisticated as long as it works.
|2 days 4 hours ago||Beat me to it||
First thing I thought: "Nick's the team doctor now?"
As for that guy who negged such an obvious and innocuous joke:
|2 days 5 hours ago||Um, yeah||
I feel no harm was done here but Jay probably needs to take it down a notch.
|3 days 3 min ago||Yeah||
The talk & speculation I heard was an ankle sprain.
|3 days 4 min ago||Really?||
After Concussiongate, that's what you think of the Michigan fanbase?
|3 days 5 hours ago||To be fair||
Funchess CALLED HIMSELF a "pretty boy", in the context that he was reluctant to block. And he was. That never changed. And at times it killed our offense.
The moral of the story is that there's always more to a person than a single narrative.
|3 days 23 hours ago||Hexadecimal?||
Why stop there? Let's go full base 36 with alphanumeric!
|3 days 23 hours ago||Stickers||
The thing about the stickers is that everyone's doing them now. I get that Bo did it, but in 2015 it feels more like chasing.
Not a fan of the jerseys either; it honors the past at the expense of giving the players a chance to build their own legacies. And when they don't play up to expectations, it's an invitation to attack them. I liked Kovacs as #32. Because he was making that number mean something to me. The job with #11 was already done. As for the practicality of bringing back numbers, I'm not in favor of retiring numbers in the first place. We only have two digits to work with and 85 roster spots FFS. Maybe in basketball but for football it was never a good idea.
Neither are huge changes to me, though. Just opinions and I'll watch either way. Just play ball, yo.
|4 days 1 hour ago||Cool||
I never see the recruiting picture as one recruit. That's not being negative on Rashan Gary in any way. He should do what's best for him, even if that includes visiting That Place.
What I expect is that Harbaugh and his staff will shape Michigan such that going to Michigan IS what's best for Rashan Gary, and other recruits. If they see that, as Harbaugh himself said, Michigan will NOT be hard sell.
|4 days 2 hours ago||Just my nature as an||
Just my nature as an engineer. Fill any holes with skepticism. It's not a knock on them.
In the cases of Durkin and Drevno, the parts of their careers where they had the most success were under HCs of the same mold -- Durkin under a defense-minded HC, Drevno under an offense-minded OC. So it's difficult to assess to what extent they contributed to the success. Brian conceded as much in his assistant coach MGoPodcast. Here is where I try harder to get some sort of read on how they think by watching the pressers, but Drevno and Durkin are almost as Ft. Schembechler as Harbaugh. Again, OK, it just means I don't have the info I want.
This isn't to say I have any WORRIES, per se. But neither do I feel it's safe to have expectations. If it doubt, assume that says more about me than them.
|4 days 3 hours ago||Baxter||
He has an incredible approach. No wonder the guy's so successful. I first started hearing him talk and I quickly thought, "Damn, this guy is good."
Harbaugh's results speak for themselves, but he's very Ft. Schembechler in interviews. That's OK; I just can't glean much substance from them. Baxter is Mattison-esque, except he might be even better than Mattison -- and I don't mean that as a knock on Mattison.
Harbaugh found one hell of a special teams coach. I'm still a bit reserved on the coordinators, but Wheatley has impressed me and Jackson & Baxter are phenomenal.
|1 week 1 day ago||Plus||
You can't exactly have the NT yell "I'm going HERE" right in front of the C, or they've just made things more complicated without any of the upside of surprise. I don't know if the line has a way of communicating their gap assignments to the linebackers or if the latter are expected to read the line, but if they can master it, it'll wreak havoc on opposing O-lines.
|1 week 1 day ago||Yep||
Anything IS possible. Harbaugh is known for experimenting, and said on public record he's allowing the players to try different positions. Canteen running a play at CB can mean anything from absolutely nothing to a full-blown switch.
That said, while I get you're using the term affectionately, I wouldn't call him a "mad scientist". I think Harbaugh would let a kicker play 3-tech IF the guy beat out everyone else. Granted that'd never happen, but reality would dictate that, is my point. That's how you get a 2-star FB taking over the MLB position. You don't close off possibilities just because that's how other people do it. It's not "thinking outside the box", nor is it "mad"; it's just not seeing the box at all. Try anything; let reality decide.
/ there is no spoon
|1 week 1 day ago||3-4 "small"||
This is what I call "3-4 small" as a concept, not to act like some kind of expert I'm not but to keep things simple in my own head. "3-4 small" is quite the misnomer (again, not an expert) because it's not like linemen ranging from 250-300 pounds are small, but my first reading of "3-4" was the conventional 2-gap scheme where the NT is a space-eating giant weighing well over 300 pounds (commonly 320 or more) whose main purpose is to hold ground against double-teams. But when I saw the 3-4 in action I noticed some teams didn't have that. The formation was 3-4 but it was a one-gap scheme where the D-line slanted and the SAM was lined up somewhere between inside the RT and outside the TE.
There's a blurring of the definition of "linemen" when you're looking at DEs and OLBs standing up at the LoS expecting to take on blockers. They may or may not have a hand on the ground but if you're standing only a couple feet from a huge brute trying to flatten you and your first step is forward (unless you're in a zone blitz), as far as I'm concerned you're a lineman. As such a lot of what people call 3-4 or 4-3 are as interchangeable or can even be a 5-2. Point is, who has their hand down isn't as important as the gap assignments.
So I really just think Michigan is sticking with a 4-3, 1-gap scheme but this "3-4" talk is really just tinkering with the ends, OLBs and alignments to mess with the offense's blocking assignments. Which is what a defense should be doing anyway. There are upsides to relentlessly drilling a single scheme, but it's also tougher to win matchups when the other guy knows exactly where you'll be and which direction you'll go.
|1 week 2 days ago||Nannies of Collegiate "Amateur" Athletics||
This strikes me as yet another case of the NCAA making decisions based on what they want to see people do, as opposed to what they should be allowed to do.
I can see why they did it, but I don't even think there should be a waiver, because I think the NCAA controlling transfers is sticking their nose too far in the first place. If a student wants to transfer that should be the end of the discussion from the athletic side. I wouldn't want to see it, but I see a lot of people do things I don't like. But unless they're actually hurting someone I realize I don't have a say in what they do.
Fact of the matter is, there's nothing inherently good or moral about a player, any more than there's anything inherently good or moral about a person, because players are people. Some are good. Some are selfish. Some won't be affected because they feel loyal to their school. Some would happily be football mercenaries. Yeah, those guys will "abuse" the transfer waiver without a second thought. Don't like it? Deal. It's their life. Call me when one of them robs a bank or something. That the NCAA has a say in the first place is, well, very NCAA of them.
|1 week 4 days ago||Inconsistent play||
McGary's streaky as hell. After he blew open his career with back-to-back double-doubles he did this against Memphis:
15 MP, 0/3 FG, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 6PF
. . . the dude missed everything and fouled out in 15 minutes.
He's been up and down. He'll be fine; life of a young star in the NBA is learning, having teams adjust to you, then adjusting to the adjustments, so this will happen. But OKC is kind of trying to juggle their injury-depleted frontcourt with McGary's inexperience. They want to bring him along slowly but they're forced to play him. Not that I think they're doing a great job managing his minutes, but I get the position they're in.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Michigan||
I doubt Harbaugh's anywhere near a factor as much as Michigan itself. If anything, Harbaugh would've made this decision tougher, given how many Stanford (Stanford!!) players he put in the NFL.
At Michigan it's really not THAT rare. In terms of numbers they're definitely a minority, but on every UM team going way back there were probably at least a few who definitely work hard on the field but in the event they don't generate buzz among pro scouts, their first goal all along was to get a quality education. Which is why they went to Michigan. In this case we're hearing about it because he probably just couldn't keep up anymore and had to make a choice. Classes start to get very time-sucking at the upperclassmen levels; that's reality regardless of who's coach. If anything, and fully disclosing I'm speculating here, I'd wager the logic went like this:
1) My studies are taking an increasingly large chunk of time.
Anyway, we're not MIT or anything, but it does happen here. The sham the NCAA perpetuates is actually the implication that all schools are like Michigan. We're more the exception that proves the rule; when critics talk of the "worthless degree" they're usually not talking about us.
*I assume if he leaves the team he forfeits his scholarship
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Yeah||
I was gonna say, even a great year from a tailback, however you come by it we're looking at something like 1300+ yards regardless of what the QB's doing.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Depends on if he can pick up the scheme||
DG was experienced when he was thrown into Nuss' scheme and that was a disaster.
So, I'm not putting much stock in his game experience. Nor do I think Harbaugh puts much value in it. He just needs bodies at QB to sort out. The one who can execute (ugh) the scheme will win out. At the very least, this guy puts added pressure on the others, and that's fine by me.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||It's up to Shane||
It's the Tom Brady situation all over again. For all the bluster about "QB competition", Devin Gardner's job was never in danger and Shane was always heir apparent. Now he finally faces real competition. And that's not a bad thing.
Shane has to decide who Shane is. Shane can be the next Tom Brady, having an epiphany by the threat of losing the job and going nuts with prep. Or he can give up and get out of town. This isn't a knock on him, or doubting him, or picking on him. It's just to say that Harbaugh is creating the best environment to push Shane to the limit of his talent, but the rest is up to Shane.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||"win now"||
I think Harbaugh is solving the QB situation with volume, and that's it. He knows from experience that many don't pan out. A 16:5 QB is nice but if he sets foot on this campus he'll be just another QB until Harbaugh decides otherwise.
That's not really disagreeing with you though. He'd have a head start in winning the job. What I actually disagree on is Harbaugh's "win now" mentality. Early reports are that he's completely dismantling the previous system, all the way down to letting players try out for other positions. When the dust settles I think the pieces won't move nearly as much as format would allow, but the extent of the project is such that I think he's willing to lose a few games early if it means sustained success down the road.
Which isn't to say he's giving up on any particular game; note Stanford's upset of USC his first year. But contrast his style to Borges, who basically treated the spread offense he inherited like a leaky boat until he ran out of duct tape.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Great year, not a great||
Great year, not a great back. In 2011, opponents hadn't yet picked apart Borges' game. His runs were opened up in large part by the D's focus on Denard. Eventually they figured out how to play the edge in a way that got Denard to reliably give on the zone read and then to meet Fitz in the hole.
This isn't a knock on Fitz -- I think he was badly coached and the O-line issues were outside his control -- but neither would I call him a "great" back. In a lot of plays he wouldn't get a UFR minus because Borges or the O-line gave the defense a free hitter, and I won't dispute that, but a great back does something about that first guy. A great back forces a DC to think, "It's gonna take more than one guy to bring him down." In contrast, our backs needed help to reliably get yards. (I'm not talking about busted plays like the Clowney hit where the RB is DOA, but plays where they meet the unblocked guy in space.) Again, it's not the expectation of a good back to do something about a free hitter, but that ability is something that sets apart a great back.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Blank canvas?||
"They haven't even scratched the surface. That's really what has caught my eye, so right now I'm kind of like an artist with a blank canvas."
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Writes a mean composition||
Writes a mean composition too. And don't call me Jeez.
|2 weeks 3 days ago||Plausible||
I won't repeat it like it's gospel until confirmed, but I also don't care if it's confirmed. It's a funny story and right in line with Harbaugh's character.
I can relate, really. Well, it depends. If the girls just want to toss around to kill time I'd put an arc on the ball. But if they show some spirit I'd let loose (so it'd be, like, a whopping 7mph faster but still). The way I do things, I can't think of any context where half effort makes any sense. FWIW, if they stuck around for 5-10 minutes they weren't daunted by the fireballs he was throwing, so good on them.
I remember one published news story where an NHL team was doing off-season scrimmages and needed a stand-in goalie. The only guy they found was a 13-year-old who'd finished his game and hadn't yet taken off his armor. So they enlisted him. Of course they destroyed him and the kid said it was painful (literally), but he also had the time of his life. I'd imagine his next game everyone looked like they were in slow motion.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||We must find out!||
This is a job for Bruce Wayne! I mean Batman!
Aw, shit. . .
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Aquaman's identity is safe||
The fish would never talk.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||No||
You know what I like about good people? They do good things because they're good, not because it might eventually become a photo op.
It's nice that our HC is a good guy, but what's more important is that two people in trouble got help when they needed it.